Signs of Passing a Kidney Stone. Understanding the Symptoms and What to Expect

Kidney stones are a common urological condition that affects millions of people worldwide. These small, hard deposits can form in the kidneys and can cause excruciating pain when they pass through the urinary tract. In this blog post, we will explore the signs of passing a kidney stone, including the symptoms to watch out for and what to expect during this process.

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1. Understanding Kidney Stones

Before diving into the signs of passing a kidney stone, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what kidney stones are. Kidney stones are solid mineral and salt deposits that form in the kidneys. They can vary in size, ranging from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball. The most common types of kidney stones include calcium oxalate, uric acid, struvite, and cystine stones.

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2. Common Symptoms of Kidney Stones

When a kidney stone starts to move through the urinary tract, it can cause several noticeable symptoms. Here are some common signs that indicate you may be passing a kidney stone:
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1. Severe Pain:

One of the most telltale signs of passing a kidney stone is experiencing intense pain. This pain is often described as sharp and stabbing, and it typically occurs in the back or side below the ribs. The pain can radiate to the lower abdomen and groin area as the stone progresses through the urinary tract.

2. Hematuria:

The presence of blood in the urine, known as hematuria, is another common symptom of passing a kidney stone. The urine may appear pink, red, or brownish in color, indicating that the stone has caused irritation and inflammation in the urinary tract.

3. Frequent Urination:

As a kidney stone moves through the ureter, it can irritate the lining of the urinary tract, leading to increased frequency of urination. You may feel an urgent need to urinate more frequently than usual and may have difficulty holding your urine.

4. Cloudy or Foul-Smelling Urine:

Kidney stones can also cause changes in urine appearance and odor. If you notice that your urine is cloudy or has a strong, unpleasant odor, it could be a sign that you are passing a kidney stone.

5. Nausea and Vomiting:

In some cases, passing a kidney stone can trigger feelings of nausea and vomiting. These symptoms may be a result of the intense pain or due to the body’s response to the stone’s movement through the urinary tract.

3. Other Possible Symptoms

While the symptoms mentioned above are common indicators of passing a kidney stone, it’s important to note that not everyone may experience all of them. Additionally, some individuals may also experience additional symptoms, such as:

1. Fever and Chills:

If a kidney stone causes an infection in the urinary tract, it can lead to symptoms like fever, chills, and generalized malaise. These symptoms should not be ignored and require immediate medical attention.

2. Urinary Urgency:

Along with increased frequency of urination, you may also experience a sudden and strong urge to urinate. This urgency can be caused by the irritation and blockage caused by the kidney stone.

3. Painful Urination:

Passing a kidney stone can cause discomfort and pain during urination. You may feel a burning sensation or experience pain while passing urine.

4. Difficulty Passing Urine:

In some cases, a larger kidney stone may cause a blockage in the urinary tract, making it difficult to pass urine. This can cause severe pain and requires immediate medical intervention.

4. What to Expect When Passing a Kidney Stone

Passing a kidney stone can be a painful and challenging experience. Here’s what you can expect during this process:

1. Fluctuating Pain Levels:

As the kidney stone moves through the urinary tract, you may experience fluctuating levels of pain. The intensity of pain can vary from mild discomfort to severe agony, depending on the size and location of the stone.

2. Timeframe for Passage:

The time it takes to pass a kidney stone varies from person to person. Some smaller stones may pass within a few days, while larger stones may take weeks or even months to pass on their own. If you experience prolonged pain or other concerning symptoms, it’s essential to seek medical attention.

3. Drinking Plenty of Fluids:

Staying hydrated is crucial when passing a kidney stone. Drinking plenty of water and other fluids helps flush out the urinary system and can facilitate the passage of the stone.

4. Pain Management:

Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate discomfort while passing a kidney stone. However, if the pain becomes unbearable or you have other concerning symptoms, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and management.

5. Monitoring Urine Output:

While passing a kidney stone, it’s important to monitor your urine output for any changes or abnormalities. Keep an eye out for blood in the urine, changes in color or odor, or any signs of infection. If you notice any concerning changes, seek medical attention promptly.

5. When to Seek Medical Attention

While many kidney stones can pass on their own with time and proper hydration, there are certain situations where medical intervention is necessary. Here are some instances when you should seek medical attention:

  1. Severe or worsening pain that is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medications.
  2. Inability to pass urine.
  3. Persistent nausea and vomiting.
  4. Presence of fever and chills.
  5. Signs of infection such as cloudy urine with a strong odor.
  6. History of recurrent kidney stones or underlying medical conditions that increase the risk of complications.


Passing a kidney stone can be an uncomfortable and painful experience, but knowing the signs and symptoms can help you navigate through this process with better understanding and preparedness. If you suspect that you are passing a kidney stone or are concerned about any related symptoms, it’s always best to consult with your healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management plan. Remember to stay hydrated, monitor your symptoms closely, and seek medical attention when necessary for a smooth recovery.

(Note. The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance.)

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